The government of Afghanistan is back in the news these days - and for all the wrong reasons. Recent actions by President Hamid Karzai and his supporters are putting the country's future at risk, and none stand to lose more than Afghan women.
Afghan women have been disproportionately affected by years of insecurity, poverty, and displacement. Their aspirations have been undermined by strong local opposition to achieving their rights and exercising leadership.
The island of Leyte in the Philippines may be one of the only places in the world where beachfront property is completely undesirable. Those who live along Leyte's eastern beaches know that the sea's destructive power can suddenly sweep away everything they hold dear.
On December 16 last year, refugees began to flood across the border from South Sudan into Uganda as a result of an outbreak of violence in their country of origin. In the past two months the number of new arrivals has grown to roughly 66,000. They are being hosted in three areas: Adjumani, Arua, and Kiryandongo.
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest typhoons ever to make landfall, cut a path of destruction across the central Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people and displacing approximately four million.
The Syrian emergency has erupted with unprecedented speed and on a scale that no one envisaged when it began less than three years ago.
More than half of Syria’s population is now in need of humanitarian assistance. Six million people have been forced to abandon their homes but remain within the country. Well over two million have become refugees in other states.
I’m exhausted. And not because of the rapidly approaching holidays. No, I’m exhausted because my schedule is packed with a seemingly endless stream of high-level meetings, panel discussions, roundtables, photo exhibitions, protests, marches, and congressional hearings – all of them focused on raising awareness of gender-based violence in emergencies.
There is always a convenient excuse. In Haiti, we don't have the time. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we don't have the funding. In the Syrian refugee response, we don't have the experts. Somehow, there is always a pat answer to why we, the humanitarian community, fail to protect women and girls in emergency after emergency.
Just a few years ago, the countries of the European Union (EU) thought they were finally getting control over the flow of refugees and asylum seekers across their borders. Having peaked at 670,000 in 1992, the number of asylum applications submitted in the EU fell rapidly in successive years, slumping to just 200,000 in 2006.
Amina hasn't had a full night of sleep in more than a year. Ever since she fled her home in northern Mali last fall, she has been haunted by terrifying memories of violence. When my colleagues from Refugees International and I visited her in the Malian capital, Bamako, she volunteered to share her story with me.
Last week, Amnesty International issued a report on Syrian refugees in Egypt, which revealed that some Syrians are now trying to leave Egypt by dangerous means like sea crossings to Europe. In recent weeks the media has been full of stories of people – including many Syrians – drowning at sea between Alexandria and European ports. Hundreds of others are being held in detention after failing in their attempts or being arbitrarily arrested.